Library and Public Archive Technicians

Occupation:Library and Public Archive Technicians
Category:Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport

About the job

Nature of work:

Library and public archive technicians assist users in accessing library or archive resources, assist in describing new acquisitions, participate in archive processing and storage, and conduct reference searches. They are employed by libraries and public archives.

Job duties:
Library technicians perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Assist library users in accessing books, films, photographs, maps, documents, electronic materials and other library materials.
  • Catalogue new library acquisitions under the direction of a librarian.
  • Perform manual and on-line reference searches and make interlibrary loans for users.
  • Assist librarians in giving tours and providing children's and other specialized library programs.
Public archive technicians perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Assist in developing inventories, forms and finding aids.
  • Implement and update classification plans and records scheduling and disposal plans.
  • Apply standards and policies for storage of records and archival materials.
  • Codify and classify archival materials.
  • Put archival materials on microfilm or in databases.
  • Transfer materials from current to semi-current status or put into permanent storage.
  • Purge, sort, reduce and sample archives.
  • Research and retrieve archival materials.
  • Participate in instructing and assisting users.
  • Ensure that proper procedures are followed in the use of computerized document management systems.
Sample job titles:
  • archival assistant
  • archival management technician
  • archive assistant
  • archive attendant
  • archive technician
  • assistant music librarian
  • cataloguing technician
  • library technician
  • technical indexer - library

For this type of work, you should be patient and organized, and have good research skills. Both oral and written communication skills are essential. You must be able to work unsupervised with library or museum users, and cooperate with co-workers. Good computer skills and knowledge about audiovisual equipment are strongly recommended. Knowledge of literature is also an asset.

Job requirements:
  • Library technicians usually require completion of a two- to three-year college program in library and information technology.
  • Public archive technicians require completion of a college diploma or certificate program in archive and document management technology.
Other considerations:


Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Limited

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “limited”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is below average when compared with other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent and jobseekers may face competition. The number employed in this occupation is expected to decline slightly over the next few years, which may affect the number of new opportunities available. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Library and Public Archive Technicians most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 37% of Library and Public Archive Technicians who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $38,152. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Library and Public Archive Technicians305decline slightly15Low
Minimum:  N/A
Median:  N/A
Maximum:  N/A
Minimum: $10,102
Median: $33,816
Maximum: $45,992
Occupations in Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport11,000Moderate growth735Moderate
Minimum: $10.81
Median: $16.00
Maximum: $31.00
Minimum: $945
Median: $11,712
Maximum: $60,447
Library and Public Archive TechniciansCompared to: Occupations in Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport
Percent employed full-time73%59%
Percent self-employed40%33%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentLibrary and Public Archive TechniciansCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton11%x13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley7%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeLibrary and Public Archive TechniciansCompared to: All Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport
% Employed% Employed
Median Age5138
GenderLibrary and Public Archive TechniciansCompared to: Occupations in Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport
% Employed% Employed
EducationLibrary and Public Archive TechniciansCompared to: All Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolN/A$5,11410.2%$2,298
High school11.9%$8,44726.2%$7,127
Trades certificate4.5%$14,8013.6%$13,575
College certificate or diploma32.8%$25,89220.3%$20,158
University certificate or diploma3.0%x1.7%$20,801
Bachelor's degree31.3%$22,45127.5%$19,705
University advanced certificate or diploma3.0%x1.5%$18,274
Master's degreeN/A$22,6128.0%x
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.1%$11,741
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile
Useful contacts:
Council of Nova Scotia Archives
6016 University Avenue
Halifax, NS B3H 1W4
Tel: (902) 424-7093
Fax: (902) 424-0628
Nova Scotia Library Association
60 Alderney Drive
Halifax, NS B2Y 2N5
Tel: (902) 490-5710
Association of Canadian Archivists
PO Box 2596, Station D
Ottawa, ON K1P 5W6
Tel: (613) 234-6977
Fax: (613) 234-8500

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Library assistant/technician
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to assist professional librarians. These programs include courses in principles, systems, processes, and procedures of library operation; library resources and services; processes of acquisition, cataloguing, storage, and display systems; discovery and retrieval of requested materials; management of books, periodicals, and other documents.
See all institutions providing this program+
Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute
80 Mawiomi Place
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5
(902) 491-1100
Nova Scotia Community College - Online Learning
Unit 37, 115 Chain Lake Drive
Halifax, NS B3S 1B3
(877) 491-6774
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.